I’ve heard lots of wise folks say that your checkbook register — or to be more modern, your monthly e-statement — is the document that says everything about your values and priorities.
And that’s why, at a time when “boutique” philanthropy and direct, person-to-person giving are ascendant, I want to make the case for the ancient Jewish model of collective philanthropy that benefits the whole. In our time, it’s the Jewish Partners Fund of Federation’s Community Campaign.
Community philanthropy is sacred in the Jewish tradition, and the custom of asking individuals for a set amount “per head” dates back to the second temple period. The sum of a half shekel was an offering that everyone, rich or poor, was asked to give so that all were equal in observing this mitzvah.
The call to find meaning and purpose in community and to serve others has driven the Jewish people to be exemplars of generosity, opportunity and justice. You’ll see generosity, justice and more when you take a look at Federation’s “checkbook register.” The report, viewable online, documents our values and priorities and details all the things your Campaign dollars do for our people in Atlanta and around the world.
The Jewish Partners Fund of the Community Campaign is about the collective impact that happens when many “shekels” work together. Through Campaign, Federation and its partners launch Jewish journeys and educate all generations. Through Campaign we welcome all Jews and their loved ones to engage meaningfully with our community. Through Campaign we rise up to help ensure that no one falls through the cracks.
And . . . this year, thanks to an anonymous donor, for new or increased gifts to the Jewish Partners Fund, those dollars will be matched 1:1 up to $100,000.
If you have particular community interests, Campaign 2020 makes it possible to target additional projects. Through Targeted Philanthropy you can support PJ Library, Jewish Overnight Camping, and AgeWell Atlanta, a collaborative partnership that helps older adults and caregivers navigate the aging process. The Jewish Innovation Fund is yet another giving option to help advance new ideas and startups that support Jewish life in Atlanta.
I believe it is a fundamental privilege, unique to the Jewish people, and virtually encoded into our DNA, to prioritize the needs of the community. Last year communal generosity hit a milestone as Federation reached $19 million in philanthropic giving. Having surpassed the previous year by $1.5 million, we have set an ambitious goal of $20 million for Campaign 2020. I know we can do it, but only together. I am so proud of all the ways we bring Jewish possibilities to life, and I urge you to make our dynamic, welcoming and caring Atlanta Jewish community your priority by giving generously to the Jewish Partners Fund of the Community Campaign.